BestWool/BestLamb (BWBL) in partnership with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is a long standing sheep industry extension program. The BWBL network aims to deliver high quality and relevant services to the Victorian sheep sector that enables producers to implement improvements in aspects of their business.
It is not a direct service provider, but rather a program that facilitates practice change via appropriate learning activities delivered to a large network of producers, coordinators and groups.
On-farm discussion groups form the core of the program. Group members meet regularly for facilitated discussions, farm walks, training workshops and information sessions aimed at improving their confidence to implement practice changes that drive growth and farm profits.
The group approach recognises that there is a mix of skills among livestock producers in any location, and that most producers have similar interests. Members identify key issues and the best learning approaches to assist them to reach their individual business goals.
Other extension approaches are used to complement group activities. These include:
- annual industry conference – BWBL Conference
- producer demonstrations sites
- monthly online newsletter
- Sheep Notes
- partnerships with innovative research and development projects.
Coordinators play a major role in ensuring the success of all activities. They drive group members to question things and to overcome barriers to change and improvement. They also highlight emerging issues to BestWool/BestLamb management and ensure that group achievements are effectively recorded.
The program has producer groups across the state and welcomes new groups to join the program.
How we do it
BestWool/BestLamb group members have annual planning sessions to agree on the topics that are addressed.
These topics may include:
- grazing management
- animal health
- business management
- weaner management
- reproduction and ewe nutrition
- lamb survival and growth
- risk management
- organise the most effective learning activities
- communicate new research and development information
- challenge producers to trial new technologies
- review and report the progress of their groups.
The project management team receives regular advice and guidance on strategic issues from both the Producer Advisory Panel and the Network Advisory Committee that includes producers, industry and investor representatives.
The program holds an annual conference, every year in June. The most recent BWBL conference was held in Bendigo in 2019 with over 300 attendees.
Watch videos of sessions presented at previous annual conferences.